Pyongyang Okryu-Gwan gives Dubai a taste of North Korea

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Have I told you I love Korean food? If not, let me tell you… I. LOVE. KOREAN. FOOD. 🙂

It was last Thursday when me and my JLT buddies decided its about time we sample Dubai’s Korean food. There were actually lots of places to choose from but Pyongyang Okryu-Gwan caught our attention. Its North Korean for god’s sake! I’m not really sure if there is a difference but its the closest I can get to tasting the communist side of Korea’s dishes.

We walked around Deira to find it. The only info we have? Its near clock tower and behind Dubai Islamic bank opposite of Dnata travels. It was a good 30-minute search around Deira (thanks to the winter weather!) before we found the place. I can’t express the joy I felt upon reaching the place… Korean nationals having dinner, Korean waitresses clad in traditional korean dresses (Hanbok), how authentic can this be!

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Iselle and I

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And our Sri lankan friend, Sajeev! We are looking for a wife for him! So if he’s your type just leave a comment, ok? 🙂

Jong, our server, led us to our table. She was so attentive and insisted she pour our drinks. We were handed the menu – it was more than 10 pages and believe me when I tell you, it was hard to choose which dishes to order because all looks so good! Yes, there are pictures! In the end, we decided to order the following:

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Marinated beef – for BBQ! It comes with lettuce leaves, cucumber and soya bean paste! Dhs 60

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The right way to eat the beef BBQ: Wrap it in lettuce leaves and add a dallop of soya bean paste!

The marinated beef came and the very attentive Jong offered to grill it for us! We told her we will grill it ourselves (because its fun to grill) but when the other dishes came we realized we need her to grill it for us because we ordered so much good food we can’t focus! Next came….

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Grilled spicy squid! This was our favorite! Spicyyyyy. Dhs 60

We also ordered a kimchi hotpot but we did not expect it to be this big! Its good for 5 grown men. It has beef, noodles, tofu and this cute little chewy mushrooms I really love! And it was really spicy. My Sri Lankan friend, Sajeev who eats spicy food everyday said its spicy! So just imagine that… You’d be fire-breathing dragon after eating the hotpot!

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Kimchi hotpot Dhs 120

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And of course, rice for the all-Filipino girl!

All the dishes we ordered was good. And if you’re wondering if we finished all the food…. YES, WE DID. And it took us 20 minutes before we were able to stand up. After trying Pyongyang, I don’t think I will ever try the other Korean restaurants in Dubai. I just love the place, the ambiance, the Korean ladies especially our pretty server, Jong. She even offered to sing for us!!! Aaaaahhhh… It was love at first bite!!!

It has been 2 days and I miss it already.

 

PYONGYANG OKRYU-GWAN

Location: Deira, Dubai

Tel: 04 298 1589

Times: Open daily 10am-11pm

Price: Dhs 60-100 per person

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Cooking with Kish: #2 Pork Pochero

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Pochero is a Spanish influenced dish that we Filipinos love to cook in the Philippines! Basically the meat (you can use pork, beef or chicken!) is stewed in tomato sauce with ingredients such as plantain (saging na saba), cabbage, garbanzo, green beans and pechay.

In this post, I chose to use pork hocks and the belly part! Fact: In Dubai, pork cannot be bought everywhere unlike in the Philippines. The United Arab Emirates is a Muslim country and there are only some supermarkets who sell pork and its always hidden in the non-Muslim section.

Okay, now all the ingredients you need and the cooking instructions:

Estimated time of preparation: 15-20 minutes
Estimated time of cooking: 40-50 minutes

Ingredients:

1 Kilo pork (Liempo/Tenderloin/Hocks) – whichever you prefer.

1/2 clove Garlic, crushed

2 medium sized Onion, chopped

2 medium sized Tomatoes, chopped

5 pcs Plantain banana (Saba), sliced into 2

1 pc Small cabbage, quartered

1 medium sized Carrot, chopped

3 small sized Taro (Gabi), quartered

1 can Baked beans

1 small pack of Tomato sauce

1 Tbsp peppercorn

Fish sauce (Patis)

Salt & Sugar to taste

Cooking oil

Optional: Pechay and Green beans – I didn’t use these ingredients as my housemates doesn’t eat vegetable that much.

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Cooking Instructions:

  1. In a casserole, heat oil and brown garlic.
  2. Add onion and tomato. Once onion is almost transparent, add tomato sauce and baked beans.  Simmer for 2 minutes while stirring. Add pork, taro and peppercorn.  Simmer for two minutes.
  3. Add 3 to 4 cups of water and simmer under low heat until pork is fork tender.
  4. Add plantain bananas.  Simmer for another 5 minutes or until bananas are soft.
  5. Add just enough fish sauce usually 3-4 tablespoons to taste. You may add more if you prefer. You can also add sugar if you want it sweet.
  6. Add carrots and cabbage. Simmer for 5 minutes.
  7. Check if pork and bananas are tender, if they are, turn off heat and serve with hot rice.
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Pork pochero!

Let me know how yours turned out! Enjoy cooking! 🙂

Mee Laksa Lemak at Singapore Deli

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Looking for a Singaporean-Malaysian eat out place in Dubai? Look no more and head to Karama! I’ve passed by this restaurant quite a few times but never bothered to check it out till one late afternoon I craved for Laksa!

In my 5months in Dubai, this is the first Singaporean restaurant I’ve been to that actually serves authentic south-east asian dishes. They have different kinds of Laksa, Nasi goreng, Char kway-teow, all your favorite Singaporean/Malaysian comfort food is here.

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Singapore deli! They have outdoor seating available. Its best to seat outside and enjoy the last days of winter, don’t you think?

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The view from where I sat…

Before going to Singapore deli, I already know what to order. I’ve contemplated whether Laksa or a Nasi Goreng but Laksa is my favorite noodle soup ever and no amount of Nasi Goreng or Pho or whatever noodle soup can replace it! I requested for it to be super spicy and to balance it, I ordered a cold glass of Lemongrass tea.

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It was served on a clay pot and additional chilli paste! Oh what joy!

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A bowl of heaven… I swear I devoured this in less than 5 minutes!

All in all, I enjoyed my meal and the Laksa was so coconut-ty and the spices blended so well I totally forgot I am a lady and that I should eat it with the grace and elegance of a woman.  The Lemongrass tea was just okay, I should order it with less ice next time!

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One satisfied customer 🙂

SINGAPORE DELI

Location: Al Karama near Kabayan supermarket. Its facing the big parking lot!

Hours of operation: Sat-Thurs (12pm-12pm) Fridays (3pm-12pm)

Cooking with Kish: #1 Sinigang na Salmon sa Miso (Salmon in Miso Soup)

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In the Philippines, they say that you are not allowed to marry when you don’t know how to cook. I understand the point of the elderly whenever they say that but what is the use of having helps in the house, right?

That is my motto until I moved to Dubai last year. What can a girl like me eat when the only food I can cook are instant noodles and hotdogs. How can I maintain my *ahem* sexy body when all I am eating are preservatives and processed food? There are days I crave for my Mom’s cooking but all I can do is salivate, dream and long for it. Where in Dubai can I find my Mom’s sinigang na salmon sa miso?

It was a boring day in the office, everyone’s just watching movies when I decided to google recipes for Filipino food. Sinigang, Adobo, Escabeche, Pinaksiw and a lot more! I think I printed 20 pages for the recipes alone.

So the first dish I cooked all by myself is…. Sinigang na salmon sa miso! For all you guys who are in the same situation as me, just be patient and someday we will get there. We will cook good food!

What you will need:

1 kg Salmon (In my case, I used salmon head and belly)

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3 large Tomatoes, sliced

2 medium Onion, sliced

5 garlic cloves, crushed

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5 pieces Okra, sliced in half

2 small White Radish, peeled and sliced

1 bunch String beans

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1 bunch Mustard leaves

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4 cups Water

1 pack Sinigang sa miso mix

2 tbsp Cooking oil

optional: Fish sauce to taste.

Cooking Procedure:

  1. In a deep frying pan, heat cooking oil in medium heat. When heated, sauté the onion, garlic and tomatoes until tomatoes soften and mushy.
  2. Pour in water and wait for it to boil.
  3. When boiling, add the salmon head and belly and adjust heat to medium, cover it with the lid and let it simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. After 10 minutes, add the sinigang mix along with the radish, string beans and okra. Put the lid back on and let it simmer for 3 minutes.

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You may turn off the stove after 3 minutes depending on how cooked you want to vegetable to be. You can also adjust it according to your taste using the fish sauce or a little pinch of salt.

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My very own Sinigang na salmon sa miso!!

Try to cook it my way and let me know how it fares!

P.S. This dish is best served freshly cooked and with steamed rice.

Kish and the Cheesecake Factory

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February 14, 2013

The day I’ve been looking forward to for weeks! Pretty flowers, chocolate hearts, a handsome date and cheesecakes. Yes, cheesecakes with girl friends. That’s what we dateless girls devour on Valentines! And where else in Dubai can you get this slice of heaven? There’s a lot but nothing can beat The Cheesecake Factory, the biggest one in the world.

It was a good thing that the big V-day fell on a Thursday and its the start of the weekend for us here in the Middles East. Right after work I rushed to Mall of the Emirates to make sure there would be seats for me and my friends as its usually rammed up during holidays and special occasions such as V-day.

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Welcome to the biggest Cheesecake Factory in the world!

While waiting for Ate Nikki and Ate Steph, I roamed around the place and checked out the cheesecakes. I already know what to order but just to titillate my taste buds I looked at this and stared…

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I died and went to Cheesecake heaven…

After a few minutes of waiting, Ate Steph came and we finally sat down in our table. The place is grandiose and gold everywhere. High ceiling, big tables and ultimately the glitziest place I’ve ever been. We were given the menu and I must say that if you’re really hungry, the menu will even make you hungrier not only because of the food they have but the time it requires for you to browse it. They have more than 200 items in their menu for cheesecake heaven’s sake!

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The ambiance is very Dubai… Gold!

After taking our order (It took us 20minutes to decide), the kind Filipina waitress gave us a complimentary bread and butter to munch on while waiting for the real food to come.

ImageAnd then the drinks came… I had Raspberry lemonade and Ate Steph had Frozen iced mango. Give her something with mango and she’s a happy lady!

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Raspberry lemonade (Left) and Frozen Iced Mango (Right)

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Berry Spritzer! Didn’t like it but Ate Nikki sure did!

And then the appetizer…

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Fried Calamari — Fried, light and crisp! Served with garlic dip and cocktail sauce

For main course, we ordered two big plates and prayed that we can finish it all plus our cheesecakes. Scroll down for more food porn!

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Steak Diane – Medallions of steak covered with black peppercorns and mushroom sauce | Herb Crusted Salmon – Fresh salmon with lemon sauce, asparagus and mashed potatoes

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Bistro Shrimp Pasta – Crispy battered shrimp, fresh mushrooms, tomato and arugula tossed w/ spaghettini and basil-garlic-lemon cream sauce

The food was perfect and I liked Steak Diane and the mashed potato a lot. The steak was cooked to perfection and the sauce was the best, I couldn’t explain it in words. We ate and ate and ate and totally forgot that we have 3 slices of cheesecake that is yet to be devoured.

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30th Anniversary Chocolate Cheesecake – Layers of the original cheesecake, fudge cake and chocolate truffle cream!!!

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Blueberry Cheesecake – I loved this!!!

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And my ultimate favorite, my Valentine… Fresh strawberry cheesecake! ❤

Oh and a fact for you all: The cheesecakes are shipped from the factory in the United States and are delivered to the 150++ Cheesecake Factory branches across the US and in Dubai.

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From left: Ate Nikki and Ate Steph! Right: The pretty girl is me 🙂

Now, if you are wondering if three Asian girls finished all the food… the answer is NO! The meal portions are really big and not for *ahem* petite girls like me. HAHA!

Overall we paid around Dhs 150 each. Quite expensive but well worth it! Til my next Cheesecake Factory adventure!

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Here’s to having a date next Valentines day! Cheers!

Dubai Cares Walk For Education 2013

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“Dubai event’s 3km course signifies average distance millions of children trudge to school” – Gulf News

The Dubai Cares Walkathon yesterday was the first ever benefit event I attended since I first got here in the UAE late last year. Organized by Dubai Cares, the event was attended by thousands of people all ready to cover the 3km walk along Jumeirah Beach Road. The Walk for Education “aims to raise awareness of issues that prevent children in developing countries from gaining access to quality primary education and also highlights the importance of primary education in breaking the cycle of poverty”, said a Dubai Cares official.

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Joining me in the walkathon is Ate Nikki and Ate Stephanie

 

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Whats waiting at 500 meters! An arabic band!

 

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We reached the finish line! Wooohooo!

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The Burj Khalifa looking grand that morning…

 

It was a really fun event! I saw groups of friends, families, couples, employees marching for their company, etc. all of them having a great time knowing what they are doing is of a good cause. Hopefully next year, there would be more participants and each of those who came should help spread awareness for this cause.

 

Before we start another work week…

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Just sharing with you all a photo of me from earlier today! I went around Dubai for the last 2 days to tour some relatives around and to make the most out of the long weekend. I will update you all soon about it but for now, let’s call it a night and tomorrow is the start of another week — Well at least for us expats here in the UAE.

Goodnight from this part of the world! 🙂

xx,
Kish

Welcome to the City of Gold

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I have never seen this much gold my entire life. Gold rings, necklaces, bangles, belts, bars, gold everything. I was speechless and in awe. How can a desert city have this much gold? Where do they mine it? Who would ever wear a gold belt?

Welcome to Dubai’s Gold souk. The biggest gold market in the world. A souk, for those who aren’t familiar, is a traditional open air market found in an Arab or Berber city. The Gold souk in Dubai is located in Deira, it has more than 300 shops that sell mostly gold, diamonds and other jewelry. It is one of the most visited tourist area as they sell the goods cheaper compared to Dubai malls and other parts of the world.

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Welcome to Dubai’s Gold Souk! That’s me having a tourist-y moment.

The Gold souk started in Dubai in the 1940s when traders and businessmen from Iran and India started to put up stalls where they can display their products.

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Gold, gold, gold and more gold

I should’ve brought sunglasses with me cos after some time I spent looking at all the astonishing gold displays, my eyes felt like I was in Ali Baba’s cave! It was hypnotic!

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Craftsmanship at its best

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Do you think they’re heavy? I don’t want my neck to hurt!

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World’s biggest gold ring on display at Kanz jewellery showroom

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I would love to wear this… Maybe when I marry a Sheikh? Or if I have the money to buy it!

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I just love this piece! Its very dramatic and the design is one of a kind.

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Take your pick!

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Would you say NO? I would not.

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I would love to meet the genius behind this beauty.

It was a great experience and a must-visit for everyone who comes to Dubai. It’s fun whether you come to shop or browse, and the souk is also great for people-watching, as it may be one of the world’s most international marketplaces. Prepare to haggle and happy Souk-ing!

Trip to Karama Fish Market

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It was about time to explore Karama. I’ve been living in this area of Dubai for almost 3 months when I, together with 2 other housemates decided to jog around the area and buy fish at Karama Fish Market. A beautiful Friday morning and the weather is cooperating! If I remember it correctly, it was 12 degrees celsius out and cloudy.

Armed with our eco bags, we were on a mission to buy enough fish to last us a week. We have the option to buy either at Carrefour or Spinney’s but a lot of people say that its much cheaper to buy there and fish is always fresh, specially in the morning.

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The girls are going fish shopping!!!

So off we go and followed Ate Nikki’s instructions. Maybe we walked a good 2 – 2.5 kilometers before we reached the market. HA! It was different from what was on my mind! The market is small but it is clean and well-kept.

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Spot the baby shark!

We proved that seafood here is cheaper compared to the price of big supermarkets. Name the fish and its there!

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Tilapia, salmon, milkfish (bangus), tuna, prawn, crabs, its all there…

The Karama Market is a one stop shop, you can also get your vegetables there. And all the vendors (regardless if Indian, Pakistani, Egyptian etc) can speak Tagalog fluently. Imagine my surprise when he helped me pick the ingredients for my Sinigang na Salmon sa miso! There was no need to utter a single English word! For a minute, it felt like I was in Manila. Some shops sell UFC ketchup, ginisa mix and the likes.

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It was a fun-filled Market trip, we even bought Atis, Flat tops and Mogu-mogu. I am very thankful to the Indian vendor who gave us free bananas and oranges! We plan to go again this coming weekend and maybe make it a weekly routine! When you come to the Market, please say hello to the vendors from Shop # 5 for me.